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Is Idiocracy Really Upon Us?

Posted by V the K at 10:58 am - April 18, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends


Almost a year ago, I began noting the similarities between the USA under President Barack Hussein (Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho) Obama and the cult movie Idiocracy. Now, somewhere behind me on the curve, others are beginning to notice. Also, Here… “10 Things Idiocracy Predicted That Are Already Happening.” Here’s a sampling:

  • Scientists tell us the human race is actually becoming more stupid. It is estimated that average intelligence has dropped 14 points since the Victorian Era; primarily because, in the cradle-to-grave-welfare-state, intelligence is no longer an evolutionary benefit.
  • In the movie, “The English language had deteriorated to a hybrid of Hillbilly, Valley Girl, Inner-City slang, and various grunts.” That is certainly happening as text-speak invades conversational speak, crude idiots pepper every sentence with the f-word, the VPOTUS describes passage of terrible legislation as a “BFD”, and yesterday, the president of a Labor Union described the potential presidential candidacy of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “It don’t get no better than this.
  • Entertainment consists primarily of Television shows about dumb people humiliating themselves. Tell me there’s an intellectual difference between “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo” and “Ow! My Balls.” And in our present day, we have newscasts about …. very stupid people who claim to have seen a leprechaun.
  • Pepsi has released a Mountain Dew product spiked with “Electrolytes.” (That’s kind of a major Idiocracy plot point.)

It now makes perfect sense that elections are decided on the basis of one candidate accusing another of wanting to outlaw tampons, why campaigns are devoid of ideas and heavy on accusations of racism, and how our political leadership can make the decision that borrowing and printing limitless amounts of money is good economic policy.

I am just wondering how long evolution is going to put up with this.

Points to Ponder

Posted by V the K at 11:09 pm - April 6, 2014.
Filed under: Communism,Gay Politics,Ideas & Trends

The good news is, by next Sunday, the Mozilla controversy will be yesterday’s news. The bad news is, the gay fascists will be behaving even more obnoxiously by then.

But in the meantime, Matt Walsh thinks l’affaire Mozillique has stripped the mask off the gay activists.

It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.

And the Bookworm Room blog argues “We don’t have a “gay mafia,” we have a “gay Soviet.”

Once, we were a country that used its government to advance the notion that “that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being, irrespective of the extent of his political loyalty or contribution to the state.” Now, we’re a Soviet nation, in which private citizens are told that they must publicly recant their heresies or be destroyed.

I think they’re both right. And the really sad and scary part is most of the gay activist left is happy about what they’ve brought down on us.

Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:52 am - April 5, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends,Leftist Nutjobs,Random Thoughts

The shortest rendering one could make of this in Oldspeak would be: “Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English Socialism.” But this is not an adequate translation. … Only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the word bellyfeel, which implied a blind, enthusiastic, and casual acceptance difficult to imagine today.”

—Orwell, 1984 Appendix

Perhaps it was difficult to imagine when Orwell’s novel was published, in 1949. But is not “a blind, enthusiastic and casual acceptance” of whatever the Party says, typical of left-liberals in America today?

Even Michelangelo Signorile shows No Self-Awareness

In the comments to V’s post, Even Andrew Sullivan Is Disgusted with the Gay Left, commenter Donny D has kindly pointed us to Signorile’s scoop that proves the Left’s sincerity about rainbows and tolerance:

Dear Andrew Sullivan, ‘Left-Liberal Intolerance’ Did Not Bring Down Mozilla’s CEO…

According to Sullivan, the gay mafia has struck again, destroying [Mozilla ex-CEO Brendan Eich] and bringing him down because he would not conform to its thinking…

But…it wasn’t the Prop 8 contribution, and Eich’s refusal to renounce it, that eventually did Eich in. He was being defended by company executives…Eich only announced he was stepping down after it was revealed late Wednesday that he’d given money to Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign in 1992, and later to Ron Paul’s campaign…

It all just became too much for Mozilla to bear…It’s about a company based in Northern California that has many progressive employees…

Get it? In Signorile’s world,

  • left-wing progressives *are not* a Mafia that viciously hounds anybody who deviates from their orthodoxy of thought…
  • because left-wing progressives *did not* destroy Eich over his crimethinkful deviation on Prop 8 (a deviation shared by a great many Obama supporters that year, 2008)…
  • rather, left-wing progressives destroyed Eich over his crimethinkful deviations on Ron Paul, and on Pat Buchanan way back in 1992.

Which deviations naturally merit a campaign of personal destruction, making the destruction perfectly understandable within a proper concept of tolerance. (cough)

To be clear, I don’t like what Buchanan stood for in the 1992 campaign, either. But “that was then” and, rather more importantly, I get it that freedom is a 2-way street. “Freedom means freedom for everybody.”

And Signorile’s use of Ron Paul is fascinating. Signorile is saying, in effect, that consistent support for small government and individual liberty (what Paul stands for) is unforgiveable. Boy, I sure am impressed with the Left’s wonderful tolerance for freedom of thought, now.

The Destructive, Vengeful Nastiness of the Left Leaves No Room for Healing

Posted by V the K at 12:57 pm - April 4, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends,Identity Politics

Let me ask you guys something. After the 2012 elections, did any of your left-wing friends offer any words of comfort or reconciliation? None of mine did, and a lot of them were spiking the ball and dancing in the Endzone. It would have been nice if even one liberal friend had said, “Hey, this must have been a tough loss for you guys, and your guy actually had some good points.”

It at least would have been something, a small act of reconciliation and understanding.

I was thinking about this in the context of Mozilla’s purge of Brendan Eich for being on the “wrong side” of the Gay Marriage war. After the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln tried to reconcile a country whose citizens had been literally killing each other over opposite opinions on a profound moral issue. Even after the end of Apartheid in South Africa, there were attempts made at “Truth and Reconciliation.” But instead of being content in their victory, and trying to reconcile with their opponents, the Gay Marriage Left seem determined to carry on the war, in a kind of ideological bloodlust.

But there seems to be no room for reconciliation on the Modern Left. Perhaps, this is a consequence of them painting their enemies as sub-human. They have convinced themselves that their opponents are racists, bigots, homophobes, anti-woman, anti-science… and that they owe those who don’t agree with them nothing. No dignity. No compassion.

And it isn’t just on the fringe; or rather, the fringe is indistinguishable from the mainstream left. Gay leftists demand that those who don’t agree with them lose their jobs and livelihoods. Academics in institutions of higher learning demand that those who disagree with them be jailed for their difference of opinion. The President of the United States, instead of reaching out “with malice toward none,” hurls childish insults at people who disagree with him on matters fiscal.

It used to be a mark of a civilized man to be gracious in victory, and to behave with decency toward his defeated opponent. But those values are gone, perhaps because graciousness and courtesy are values now associated only with dead white slaveowners. Or, perhaps because the left is morally void, and its ideological bloodlust can never be satisfied no matter how many scalps they collect.

Progressives: Not Fans of Free Speech

Posted by V the K at 3:28 pm - April 3, 2014.
Filed under: Free Speech,Ideas & Trends

Interesting post over at the Volokh Conspiracy analyzing the dissent of the left-wing Supreme Court Justices in the recent McCutcheon campaign contribution case. This summation does not do it justice, so, by all means read the whole thing.

The takeaway is this: To the Conservative Right, Free Speech is a basic human right. To the Progressive Left, Free Speech is a civil right, that is only worthy of protection to the extent that it serves the interest of the State. The dissent in McCutcheon relies on the latter conception of speech to justify limiting people’s ability to participate in the political process.

Justice Breyer’s dissent today shows the way, as he revives the old Progressive conception of freedom of speech as serving instrumental purposes (which he calls “First Amendment interests”), rather than protecting individual rights or reining in potential government abuses.

We on the right see the world very differently from our opponents on the left. You may also note that all four “liberal” justices agreed that Free Speech is only a right to the extent that it advances the state’s interests.

Our freedoms are hanging by a very slender thread indeed.

BTW, Democrats have responded to the McCutcheon ruling with the usual deranged histrionics. However, none of them have put their newly found outrage into practice by renouncing donations from George Soros, Tom Steyer, or any of the other lefty billionaires financing Democrat campaigns.

‘Noah’ and Not Getting That Religion Thing

Posted by V the K at 11:49 pm - March 30, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends,Religion (General)

Reading Matt Walsh’s review of Noah, which pretty much aligns with most of the other reviews I’ve read. The film is marketed to appeal to a religious audience, but is contemptuous of religion (the director is an atheist). Also, it’s poorly made, with ludicrous special effects, ridiculous ‘rock people,’ and a muddled plot that bears only a passing resemblance to the Biblical account.  But what struck me were the comments, many of which were along the lines of this one:

Let me ask you a question Mr. Matt Walsh, what’s the point of making this movie if it’s the same as the original story? I mean seriously, do you know nothing about movies? They are made for entertainment, not to pass down stories(Documentaries aren’t movies, they’re documentaries). New things are good. Take a look at the Harry Potter movies. The fifth one, The Order of the Phoenix, was nothing like it’s original, yet it got a 7.4, a somewhat decent review. All in all, don’t judge a movie on whether or not it sticks to the original story, treat it as it’s own story.

This comment, and others in the same vein, made me realize; to a lot of people, there really is no difference between the Harry Potter books and the Holy Bible. There are no sacred texts; no eternal truths. There is just whatever entertains you at a specific moment in time. From that starting point, it’s easy to see the producers missing the point of the Biblical story of Noah: That God will preserve the righteous and faithful, even if the rest of the world perishes because of their evil. It’s a point that doesn’t make it across when Noah, instead of being portrayed as righteous and faithful, is portrayed as deranged and obsessed (which is pretty much the standard for religious folk in the Hollywood universe; except for the Noble Mohammedans.).

Masculinity Is Not Just An Act

It took a woman to say it, but the presumption of bitter feminists (which therefore must be treated as the Cultural Norm) that masculine traits are a pathology, and not being in touch with our feelers is a crippling handicap is misguided and socially damaging.

Christina Hoff Summers, writing on (the online version of that current events pamphlet in your doctor’s waiting room), shatters the assumptions about manhood and masculinity that form the foundation of contemporary feminist thought. To summarize the main points briefly:

  1. Masculinity is not a mask, it’s how men are.
  2. Despite feminist desires to the contrary, it’s unnatural for men to act like women.
  3. Masculine behavior in boys is not a mental disorder; again, contrary to what feminism teaches.
  4. Men don’t need to express emotions to each other empathetically in order to be psychologically health.

The video below, linked by a commenter a few months back, illustrates the point quite well (and infuriates feminist YouTube commenters).


A sign of the times?

The sexy up-and-coming political movement, “the wave of the future”, is (almost by definition) the one where the young, hot women are. I don’t know where they are now, except Obama ain’t it. As just one illustration, here’s Carey Wedler, a former Obama groupie burning her 2008 campaign T-shirt.

YouTube Preview Image

Her list of specific disappointments with Obama is pretty left-wing, but she has some pro-liberty ones in there too, and she comes to a libertarian-anarchist conclusion: “The institution of government is the problem.”

UPDATE: More signs?

Is “Bully” a Gender?

Posted by V the K at 10:43 am - February 15, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends

Getting back to the Silly Left and their crazy notions that there are at least fifty genders and probably a whole lot more  . Looking over the list,  one sees that “Butch,” “Lipstick Lesbians” “Soft Butch,” and “Tomboy” are all considered separate genders. There are similar variations on themes throughout the list; usually differentiated only by minor behavioral quirks.

So, from this, we can derive the Silly Left definition of “gender,” which appears to consist of two parts: 1. How does a person feel about their sexual identity and 2. How does a person outwardly express their sexual identity.

By this definition, isn’t “Bully” a gender? Bullies have unique patterns of self-identity that are very often rooted in their sexual identity; and their behavior is an outward expression of that identity. So, by the Silly Left definition, is “Bully” a gender, and are the anti-bullying campaigns that have been so trendy recently an assault on gender?

The Cylons Are Coming

Posted by V the K at 7:48 am - January 22, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends


Technology is bringing society to a watershed; robots are now capable of performing a full range of manufacturing tasks formerly provided by overpaid union laborers. A full 70% of occupations may become obsolete in the next two decades because of advances in robotics. Robots are on the edge of pushing into job areas that were previously inaccessible — service industry jobs, agricultural labor, child care, teaching, transport, and even skilled occupations such as medical care.

We are rapidly approaching the point where any job can be replaced by machines; even actors and models. (Let’s face it, with all the airbrushing and whatnot, the human form became insufficiently aesthetically pleasing years ago; and actors are expensive and annoying.)

The living wage debate becomes irrelevant when low-skilled manual labor jobs are replaced by efficient machines. Already, it’s ludicrous for fast food employees to demand $15 an hour when they can easily be replaced by touchscreens. Demands for higher wages accelerate the day when kitchen jobs are replaced by machines as well.

Also, low-skill jobs in agriculture, construction, and hospitality can also be performed by robots. On the one hand, this will reduce demand for the millions of cheap foreign laborers business interests are so eager to import. On the other hand, uneducated immigrants can still collect welfare and vote multiple times; making them an invaluable Democrat constituency. Automation will not end illegal immigration, and may well accelerate it.

An economy with millions more idle workers who have no prospects for employment will undoubtedly demand more welfare from the Government. Which will inevitably mean higher taxes on those fortunate enough to still be employed.

And then there is the inevitable issue of human-robot marriage.

Interesting times.

The Event Horizon of a Lie

thImagine if the day after tomorrow, all of the climate scienticians at the UN, the EPA, and around the world released the following statement: “Our predictions of catastrophic global warming have not been borne out by the empirical data collected over the last thirty years. The models we used to predict global warming failed to take into account such factors as cloud formation, solar activity, and numerous other natural phenomena. All evidence gathered to data suggests that human activity has a negligible impact on the global macroclimate compared with other natural phenomena.”

All of the above is true, but to imagine the pushers of Global Warming admitting it is impossible. The progressive secular left has gotten into the gravity well of the Global Warming myth so deeply it is impossible for them to escape. Ponder how that came to be.

Certainly, there is money involved; there is a vast gravy train of Government and private grants to study Global Warming, and an even larger gravy train of Government (taxpayer) subsidies to well-connected cronies in the “Green Energy” field. But another reason the progressive left can’t give up on Global Warming is that to do so would mean admitting that what they call “science” was wrong.

This latter point is important. The progressive left treats science not as a structured and rational way to explain natural phenomena but as a cudgel against religious belief,traditional values, and individual liberty. “Your archaic superstitions and magical sky-gods are no match for our almighty and infallible Science!” they proclaim. Admitting that the empirical data does not support catastrophic global warming … the Ragnarok of secular progressivism… would be tantamount to admitting their God had failed.

It would be a lot easier to back off now if they had been more honest thirty-odd years ago, and said, “We have a hypothesis that human activity may contribute to warming of the global climate. We need to study this phenomenon and determine if the hypothess is valid.” Instead, they leapt immediately to, “The Earth has a fever, and free enterprise is going to destroy the planet unless the global capitalist system is dismantled and individual liberties are subjugated to Government for the collective good.” (This was the central thesis of Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance.”)

The left likes to say “The Science is settled.” But the fact is, as far as they were concerned, the science was settled as soon as it became apparent that Global Warming could be used to advance the progressive socialist agenda. At that point, the progressive left abandoned real science in favor of “Science.”

Real science is infallible, because real science does not jump to conclusions and try to backfill them with data afterwards. Real science admits when the hypothesis is unsupported by the data. Real science has no political agenda. Real science is not inherently hostile toward religion, but merely indifferent to it.

It’s an ironic twist, is it not, that the secular progressivism left has more to fear from real science than the Religious Right? And just as ironic that because they abandoned real science, the progressive left has to maintain a lie for fear of losing the credibility they claim from “Science.”


The Neurotic Left Ponders “Gender-Minimized” Dating

Posted by V the K at 11:09 pm - January 13, 2014.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends

We on the right concern ourselves with things like the fiscal unsustainability of the national Government and the diminishment of individual rights under a massive and ever expanding bureaucratic state. The left worries about how to eliminate gender roles from dating situations.

It’s not possible to have a completely gender neutral date. Gender, our cultural and personal notions of how people should act based on their biological sex, influences too many aspects of our behavior to be completely neutralized. In the dating context, gender roles provide an outline of how things “should” work. But in a day and age where equality is the expectation, why stick to a rigid outline based on your genitalia?


You ever wonder if there is a corollary to Rush Limbaugh’s Undeniable Truth of Life #24, something to the effect that gamma males embrace feminism because they can never achieve the normal standard of manhood? Is the obsession with “gender” is a thinly veiled assault against the masculine ideal by men who are incapable of achieving it, and women who resent the lack of interest displayed to them by alpha males?

Just asking the question.


The vengeful greed – and stupidity – of today’s liberals

As Obamacare inflicts serious rate hikes on most consumers, quotes like the following are making the rounds:

In his story, reporter Chad Terhune also quoted a letter sent to a California insurance company executive. “I was all for Obamacare,” wrote a young woman complaining about a 50 percent rate hike related to the health care law, “until I found out I was paying for it.”

At first glance, one may admire the speaker’s sharp tongue. She gets to the heart of the matter.

But what is she really saying? That she wants to be generous with Other People’s Money. Not hers! For her, the key moral and emotional transaction in politics is to make herself feel good by having government take from others; by literally making others pay.

She also reveals that she has no idea how life works. She seriously thought that health care could be made “free” (i.e., sick people heavily subsidized, in inefficient exchanges that the government forces people to be in against their will) without herself having to pay the price for it, sooner or later, in some form.

I propose a politics where people are free to choose, and to keep most of what they earn.

  • If they choose to spend their lives productively, they keep most of the results (and can give to others, if they wish to).
  • If they choose not to spend their lives productively, then they bear most the consequences (although they will probably still find help from family, friends, and pro bono doctors/clinics, not limited to emergency rooms).
  • Life’s transactions are voluntary – requiring both sides to feel they’re gaining in some way, or else the transaction doesn’t happen – and, as such, tend to get cheaper and more efficient over time.

Everyone wins. Except, perhaps, the short-sighted and the vengeful.

Living in the present in challenging times

Several of my Facebook friends like to post inspirational and thought-provoking quotes on a regular basis.  Two or three of them have recently posted a quote which has been attributed to Lao Tzu which reads:

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.

As someone who has lately been bouncing back and forth between these states of mind, I can appreciate the essential wisdom of the quote.  Most of my feelings of depression lately have been spurred on by my regrets about things I wish I had done differently in my life, and so in that regard, they are an instance of dwelling in the past.  Most of my anxiety stems from my concerns about where our country is headed under its current leadership (or lack thereof), and my feelings of uncertainty or even paralysis as to what is or should be the best path for me to take from this point forward.  The more I think about it, the more overwhelming the many different options start to become.

Partly because of the circumstances which have fueled both my recent feelings of depression and of anxiety, I also have to wonder whether or not the “living in the present” endorsed by the quote is really so desirable after all.  When things are going well, yes, that sounds ideal, but isn’t there the risk of a sort of complacency which can result in self-indulgence, lack of ambition and disengagement?
I thought of these points and more yesterday when Glenn Reynolds linked to a post by Sarah Hoyt entitled “If You Don’t Work, You Die.”  In the post, Hoyt reflects on the importance of what she refers to as envy and striving for growth and life, which, to my mind suggests a certain resistance to complacency.  She reflects on an experiment in Denver in the 1970s with a guaranteed minimum income and the finding that a certain segment of the population was content to live on it and to stop striving to better their lives, and she speculates that it is partly an inherited trait which had value in the conservation of social energy.  The part of the post that fascinated me the most was when she described herself in the following terms:
Some of us are broken.  We were given both envy and high principles.  We can’t even contemplate bringing others down to level things, but instead we work madly to increase our status.  (No, it’s not how I think about it, but it’s probably what’s going on in the back of the monkey brain.)  Most of humanity however is functional.  Give them enough to eat, and a place to live, and no matter how unvaried the diet and how small/terrible the place, most people will stay put.
It seems to me that she has hit on something crucial there because although I’m often tempted to focus on being content with things the way are, every so often something happens to jar me from that state of mind, either by making me feel depressed or anxious or by throwing me off balance completely with some new dream or hope.
I’d like to write more about the disruptive power and potential value of such dreams, but for the time being, I’d like to pose a question for our readers.   When we live in difficult and challenging times, how can one try to remain “in the present” without falling into complacency or without becoming disengaged from the sorts of issues and problems that threaten to make existence even more trying and difficult?

Humanities in the 21st century

As many have observed, the humanities (and allied disciplines) at U.S. universities have gotten rather silly, these last few decades. Now they’re also falling from favor among job-conscious students:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The humanities division at Harvard University…is attracting fewer undergraduates…

Universities’ humanities divisions and liberal-arts colleges across the nation are facing similar challenges in the wake of stepped-up global economic competition, a job market that is disproportionately rewarding graduates in the hard sciences, rising tuition and sky-high student-debt levels.

Among recent college graduates who majored in English, the unemployment rate was 9.8%; for philosophy and religious-studies majors, it was 9.5%; and for history majors, it was also 9.5%…By comparison, recent chemistry graduates were unemployed at a rate of just 5.8%; and elementary-education graduates were at 5%.


But, not to worry: Harvard’s Humanities department is prepared to sneer at anyone who doesn’t see how tremendously valuable they are:

This “is an anti-intellectual moment, and what matters to me is that we, the people in arts and humanities, find creative and affirmative ways of engaging the moment,” said Diana Sorensen, Harvard’s dean of Arts and Humanities…

Homi Bhabha, director of the Humanities Center at Harvard….said he didn’t give much weight to criticism from some elected officials who carp that young people need to go into fields that are supposedly more useful. “I think that’s because they have a very primitive and reductive view of what is essential in society,” he said.

Get it? If the Humanities are in decline – despite this being an age of left-wing triumph, and with university revenues/budgets near all-time highs – it’s not the fault of Humanities professors for too often failing to teach kids how to reason, usefully, about life’s problems. No, no, no. It’s everyone else’s fault for being primitive, reductionist and anti-intellectual.

All I can say is: I have an idea of what’s genuinely intellectual, and Sorensen/Bhabha are not it.

Via Zero Hedge.

UPDATE (from Dan): Jeff addresses a topic near and dear to my heart. There are many reasons the humanities are in decline and a good number of them trace back to the humanities professors themselves who focus on esoterica and offer, in the words of Homi Bhabha (whom Jeff quoted above) a “reductive view of what is essential in society”.

Perhaps were more humanities professors to show a genuine passion for the ideals which had defined their professor until scholars (thinking they were really quite clever) started “deconstructing” it in the 1970s, they would find greater interest among students.  But, professors would then have to make the case why the study of philosophy and great works of literature mattered to those who pursued careers in law, medicine, banking and commerce.

I highly recommend Bruce Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind which explores one aspect of the humanities’ decline in contemporary academia.

Name that Obama-era affliction

In a previous post, I wrote about Obamacare Schadenfreude, that feeling of amusement when some ardent supporters of Obamacare realize that that monstrous piece of legislation will have negative consequences for them or for causes about which they claim to care.  I was reminded of that post again yesterday when I heard that one of the authors of Obamacare, Max Baucus (D-Montana), complained that the implementation of Obamacare was going to be a “huge train-wreck coming down.”

Likewise, a little over a week ago, Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) complained about the incomprehensible complexity of the law:  “‘I believe that the Affordable Care Act is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress,’ he said, as quoted in the Washington Examiner. ‘Tax reform obviously has been huge, too, but up to this point it is just beyond comprehension.’”  My response to both Senators is simply to respond:  well, isn’t that just too bad.

Today, though, I’d rather write about another Obama-era affliction which I’ve been suffering with since late January 2009.    It is something akin to depression, and it is brought on or exacerbated by the daily outrages resulting from this administration’s policies.

Sometimes it boils up to anger which gives me more energy, but at other times I feel listless and unmotivated or even hopeless.  At times, I get by just focusing on the routines and necessary activities of my daily life, but sometimes even those feel like a burden.  Writing about the issues can be therapeutic, though there are many times when I’d rather not think about them at all.

So what to call this condition?  “Obamalaise” came to mind, but I think others have used that to describe the lingering weakness in our economy.

I also thought of “Obama Weltschmerz.”  That conveys the angst and depression, and I like the fact that, like Obamacare Schadenfreude, it uses a German word.  As I see it, the use of a German word helps to communicate my sense that Obama’s America feels like it’s headed towards the sort of economic collapse which characterized Weimar Germany.

Maybe that’s too dark.  “Obamanomie” communicates a sense of impending social instability and alienation.  That might get at the matter a little better, though it’s perhaps even more depressing to think about.

In any case, I know I’m not the only one suffering with this condition.  I suspect many of our readers are, too.  What would you call it?

Changing idioms: worth resisting?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:17 pm - April 8, 2013.
Filed under: Ideas & Trends,Pop Culture,Random Thoughts

As we all know, language undergoes change over time, especially idioms. I remember when “The mother of all X” became a popular U.S. English idiom (to mean “The greatest of all X”, as distinct from its earlier usage, “The origin of all X”). It was a little over 20 years ago, the time of the first Gulf War. Saddam Hussein promised us “The mother of all battles”, and it sounded humorously strange. Today, it’s a cliche.

One idiom I see becoming widespread is the use of “It begs the question…”, to mean “It raises the question…”

As with “The mother of all X…”, begging the question has a different, earlier usage. It meant an argument whose outcome you rigged, by simply assuming the conclusion (what you wanted to prove) as one of your argument’s premises. But I see ever more people using the phrase in a different sense, like this:

With the markets breaking all-time highs last week, it begs the question of just how high they can go.

To me, that’s a misuse. No, it doesn’t “beg” the question. It POSES the question. It RAISES the question. Unless the idiom has changed, and I’m just being cranky about it.

Which RAISES (!) the question: When do idioms change? What bell is rung? How much must an idiom be misused, before the grating mis-usage should be accepted as the new, correct usage? Or should some of us just keep pointing out how uneducated people sound, when they misuse it? ;-)

The Dietary Delusion

Over the past few weeks, I have awakened to hear snippets of stories such as this one on NPR about “the obesity epidemic.”  The stories are all part of a series reporting on a recent poll undertaken by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.  The poll looked at the attitudes and the self-reported actions of parents towards the ways their children ate and about their children’s activity levels.

Among the key findings of the survey highlighted in the NPR reports have been these two points:

  • “Recent public opinion polls show that most American adults think obesity is a serious problem for society, but most parents in the poll here are not concerned their own children will become overweight as adults.”
  • “In most cases, parents don’t seem to believe that the way their child ate on a given day is likely to make them gain unhealthy weight.”

The NPR story linked above blames a psychological factor known as “optimism bias,” and says that parents may think they are doing the right things, but really they are just poorly informed and/or deluding themselves.

Since this is an ongoing series on NPR, one can expect it to culminate with an interview with Michelle Obama or someone behind her “Let’s Move” campaign, or with a series of suggestions for more government action, or calls for more spending on government nutrition programs, or possibly with all of the above.

What hasn’t occurred to the geniuses at NPR, though, is that perhaps the parents really have been listening to the advice coming from the government and the media for the past twenty five years and they really do think they are doing the right things, but the advice is flawed.

Ronald Reagan famously remarked that “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”   In recent years, Gary Taubes has become the best-known of those who have challenged the nutritional and dietary orthodoxy which has been promoting a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.  Writing in Newsweek last spring, he explained that:  ”The problem is, the solutions this multi-level campaign promotes are the same ones that have been used to fight obesity for a century—and they just haven’t worked.”


Smart Phones and Rude People

I saw this article on Yahoo Monday about a TED talk Sergey Brin gave last week, where he discussed the ways that he finds his smart phone “emasculating.”  I don’t have a strong opinion on that topic, but it’s also partly because I don’t have a smart phone.  I’m not really a luddite as much as I am true to the Swiss, German and Scottish parts of my ancestry in my frugality and my reluctance to adopt the latest fads, especially when those fads come with a monthly fee I’d rather not have to pay.

I only have a rather primitive cell phone, and I rarely use it very often.   I remember back around 2000 watching the Oprah show one day when Oprah confessed she didn’t have a cell phone, and she couldn’t understand why people needed to be available that way at all times and in all places.  While I’m sure Oprah has relented and gotten not just a cell phone but a smart phone by now, I still remember her remark in resisting that particular technology.

But while I might not have a smart phone, most of the other folks I know or encounter have one.  And that brings me around to my topic of the moment.  I’m less worried about whether or not smart phones are “emasculating” than I am about their tendency to make people more self-absorbed, oblivious, and frankly rude.

I’m appalled at work when I see people checking their smartphones during meetings, but I see it all the time.  And then there is the matter of the folks who text (or play “Angry Birds”) while walking or crossing the street or, worse, while driving.

My particular gripe at the moment is something that I see more and more frequently when I fly these days, and that is people who flout the rule against using their cell phones during flight.  Maybe it is an unnecessary rule, but it is still a rule, and ostensibly a rule put in place for everyone’s safety.  Nevertheless, I’ve witnessed people within my line of sight who don’t turn off their phones when instructed, or who furtively turn them on in mid-flight to start texting or checking e-mails (and I’m not talking about a flight with wi-fi), or who hide them away only to have them ring during flight.   On one of my most recent flights, a phone rang and a guy took the call and started talking as we were going into the final descent before landing.   I’m not a frequent flyer, so if I’ve witnessed all of these things, I can’t be the only one.

Maybe I’m just being a grouch, but it seems to me that the advances in communications technology have desensitized many people (and not just the Alec Baldwins of the world) to the demands of common courtesy and common sense.